Sunderland boss reveals strong message to Liverpool and Manchester United-linked youngsters

Phil Parkinson has warned Sunderland’s promising youngsters that they could get ‘lost in the system’ should they depart the Academy of Light - and has urged local talent to remain on Wearside.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 11:30 am
Phil Parkinson

The Black Cats’ boss was reacting to the news that the club have retained their category one academy status following a Premier League audit.

And the award of the elite status comes weeks after Sunderland saw another one of their talented youngsters depart the club, with Logan Pye bound for Manchester United.

And with Liverpool and Arsenal having pillaged the club’s ranks in recent years, Parkinson says it is ‘inevitable’ that the best talent will attract interest.

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He does, however, have a simple sales pitch for those tempted to leave Sunderland.

“Inevitably you’re going to get big clubs wanting your best players,” admitted Parkinson.

“But my chat to all the parents when I’ve spoken to them is that if you go to one of the big, top six clubs in the Premier League then you can get lost in the system there.

“You’re far better being at a club where you’ve got a chance and there’s a pathway into the first team because you see it time and time again.

“When I was at Bolton we sold players to Manchester United and Manchester City, and six months later they’re knocking on our door wanting to come back.

“The reality is you can get lost in the system.”

Sunderland’s retention of category one status will ensure they can continue to develop the most talented young players in the area - something which Parkinson believes is vital moving forward, and only serves to signify the desire of the hierarchy to rebuild all aspects of the club.

“It’s very important,” said the Sunderland boss.

“We’ve got incredible facilities and an incredible catchment area to attract players as well. “That category one status is great for the club going forward.

“We didn’t want to lose that as the club is trying to build back in all areas, and that’s another sign that the owner and Paul Reid are trying to achieve that.”